SEOUL (Reuters) – South Korean prosecutors sought a 12-year jail time period on Wednesday for Samsung Electronics Vice Chairman Jay Y. Lee, in a corruption case that led to the ouster of the nation’s president earlier this 12 months.
They made their demand within the Seoul Excessive Courtroom which is listening to an attraction by Lee in opposition to a five-year jail time period handed out to him in August by a decrease court docket within the case that has gripped the nation.
The 49-year-old billionaire inheritor to South Korea’s Samsung Group was convicted by the decrease court docket of bribing the nation’s former president Park Geun-hye. In addition to Lee, who has been in detention since February, 4 former Samsung executives had been additionally charged within the case.
The decrease court docket had dominated the bribe helped Lee strengthen his management of Samsung Electronics, the crown jewel within the nation’s greatest conglomerate and one of many world’s prime expertise companies.
“The defendants say they’re involved about the way forward for Samsung Group. Nonetheless, what they’re actually involved about is Lee’s lack of management and subsequent financial losses,” particular prosecutor Park Younger-soo instructed a packed court docket of about 150 individuals.
Lee, in a darkish swimsuit and white shirt with no tie on the appeals listening to, earlier on Wednesday denied the bribery cost and in addition denied current allegations by prosecutors that he had met Park one-on-one 4 occasions, as a substitute of the beforehand disclosed 3 times.
The Seoul Excessive Courtroom is predicted to rule on the attraction in late January. Whichever aspect loses may take the case to the Supreme Courtroom, the ultimate court docket of attraction in South Korea.
The decrease court docket had dominated in August that whereas Lee by no means requested for Park’s assist immediately, the truth that a 2015 merger of two Samsung associates did assist cement Lee’s management over Samsung Electronics implied he was asking for the president’s assist to strengthen his management of the agency.
His attorneys have strongly challenged this logic since appeals hearings started in October.
“The defendants haven’t as soon as tried to resolve points by colluding with political energy and gaining its assist. The particular prosecution has severely distorted the reality, and that distortion is mirrored within the jail time period they sought,” stated Lee In-jae, Lee’s lawyer, responding to the 12-year jail time period demand.
The scandal performed a giant half within the downfall of former president Park, who was dismissed in March after being impeached, and the case forged a vital eye over the ties between South Korea’s chaebols – massive family-owned company teams – and its political leaders.
Confronted with investor worries of a management vacuum as Lee stays detained, Samsung Electronics appointed a brand new technology of prime managers at its three essential companies together with semiconductors in October.
Lee has been extensively anticipated to observe in his father, Lee Kun-hee‘s, footsteps sooner or later. Lee Kun-hee, the chairman of the group, has been hospitalized since 2014.
Answering a prosecutor’s query about his future as Samsung inheritor, Lee stated: “I had been privately pondering that Chairman Lee Kun-hee would be the remaining individual to have the title of Samsung Group chairman.”
“I’ve usually stated that I wish to be a businessman who’s acknowledged for functionality, not only for being somebody’s son, or for having a number of shares.”
Reporting by Joyce Lee; Modifying by Himani Sarkar and Muralikumar Anantharaman
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